It is my firm belief that everyone has the desire to write at least one book over the course of their lifetime. However, writing requires time and energy. The entire writing and publishing process is long and grueling, and most people find themselves feeling so overwhelmed that they don’t even know where to begin.

With more and more people writing books -- and over a million books being published in America every year -- the industry is continually changing. There are more publishers to choose from now than ever before, and many authors make rushed decisions that result in poorly-produced products that don’t sell. Understand that producing, distributing and marketing your book to the public takes time, and it is important to be meticulous every step of the way.

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Over the last 15 years, I have discovered valuable secrets about the publishing industry that have helped me in writing my own books -- secrets that have then helped me to sell hundreds of thousands of copies of those books. I’ve learned that all of the tricks of the trade can be narrowed down to four specific points – what I like to call the four C’s. If you have a dream in your heart to become a best-selling author, these four C’s will help you turn that dream into a reality.

1. Content

Any successful book has to have superb content. You could have the best publisher in the world and be a marketing master, but if your book does not have interesting, original, well-written content, you’ll never reach that best-sellers list. Any reader knows that the best books -- the ones you can’t wait to share with your friends -- are those with which you have such a profound experience and connect so deeply that you can’t help but talk about.

If you have your story written out, but are not confident in the quality of the content, you may want to look into hiring an editor or even a ghostwriter to help enhance your story. Take the time to find someone exceptional who will be worth the money. Too often, authors rely on the publisher or the distributor to sell their book, but the reality is that if you have superb content, your book will sell itself.

2. Cover

We’ve all heard the saying, “You don’t get a second chance at a first impression.” Well the same is true of books. Your cover is your reader’s first, and sometimes only, impression of your book. Be thorough in your research. Before you decide on a final design, check out some top-selling books. You may notice similarities in cover concepts. When choosing a cover, it is also very important that you make sure you are working with a reputable publisher, who will have specialists on staff to provide you with expert counsel before making your final decision.

Another aspect of your book that is equally as important as your cover is your title. The title and the cover of a book go hand-in-hand. When a prospective reader sees the title of your book -- particularly if it is non-fiction -- it should leave no question in their mind about what the book is about.

Ultimately, if your cover is not eye-catching and your title is not intriguing, people will pass by your book without so much as a second glance. Take the time, do the research, and invest the money in finding experts who will help to ensure that your cover and title are working for you and not against you.

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3. Credentials

In writing, as with anything, your reputation precedes you. You have to have credentials, especially if you are writing a non-fiction book. You have to ask yourself, “What qualifies me to speak on this subject? What expertise do I have that makes my advice valuable?” If you lack expertise and reputation, you have no credibility, and people will be disinclined to take you seriously.

You have to be able to prove that you know your stuff. You should have strong, easily accessible online references -- a good-looking website and current, enabled and aligned social media profiles. Everything is on public display, so make sure that all of your virtual outlets reflect your expertise and market you as a professional.

4. Community

Once you’ve proven your credentials, it’s time to start building a community. Create an expert online presence for yourself. Social media is a great avenue through which to connect with your audience as well as other experts in your field. Spending at least 20 minutes a day posting and networking with others will help you to establish a solid social media platform on which you can build your fan base. It is good to begin doing this as soon as possible, especially if you are still in the process of writing your book. The earlier you start building your credentials and your community, the more quickly you can establish yourself as an expert.

These four C’s are absolutely essential to creating a fantastic book and maximizing sales. Remember, the road to becoming a best-seller is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no shortcuts to success. You have to put in the time and energy, and follow the steps listed above. Only then can your dream of reaching best-seller status be achieved!

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